George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four was written in the aftermath of WW2, a time when Hitler had been defeated and the Soviet Union was on the rise. Orwell imagines what the world would be like under the control of authoritarian regimes. In this world “Big Brother” controls everything – where people live, what they do, where they work, what they say, even how they think. “thought crime”, to think thoughts that are against the ideology of the Party, is a heinous wrong.
The central character in Orwell’s book is a man named Winston. He works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history so that it fits with Big Brother’s view of the world. But he despises what he does and the regime that makes him do it. Winston begins rebelling against the “Big Brother”, small but deliberate acts of defiance. He finds an alcove in his house where the cameras of Big Brother cannot observe him, he begins an illicit affair with a woman named Julia, and in his own thoughts he questions the way the world is. As each small act of rebellion occurs the likelihood Winston will be caught increases.
the tension rises until the fateful moment when Winston’s resistance is exposed. He is sent to prison to be “rehabilitated”. This means breaking him emotionally and physically and then turning him once more into a party drone. His interrogator is a man named O’Brien. He wants to convince Winston that resistance is futile, that the arty will never be defeated, that the present will stretch unending into the future. At one point O’Brien chillingly says to Winston: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” It’s a depressing image. The future no more than a repeat of the past.
To this the gospel screams a loud “NO!” . It declares that death, disease and distress will will not be the last word, that the risen Christ will return to restore the universe too goodness and justice. This is the Christian hope.